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Ivory Coast

Mr. Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development, what assessment the Department has made of the World Food Programme report on the food situation in Côte d'Ivoire. [116628]

Hilary Benn: We monitor reports on the humanitarian situation in Cote d'Ivoire closely, including those produced by the World Food Programme. The situation continues to give cause for concern particularly in the west of the country. We have already provided around

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£1 million towards appeals from international agencies and NGOs working in Cote d'Ivoire, and are considering whether to make a further contribution in the light of the latest UN Consolidated Appeal.


Mr. Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of recent refugee movements in Liberia; what resources are available to them; and if he will make a statement. [116624]

Hilary Benn: Our information on refugee movements, as well as those of internally displaced citizens in Liberia derives from reports of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in Monrovia. HMG does not have a permanent representation there. The reports, and those of other agencies, are generally available on the Relief website. Continuing war in Liberia has led to increased refugee flows into surrounding countries. Latest estimates from the UN (as at April 2003) indicate that some 225,000 Liberians were officially registered as refugees in neighbouring countries. This figure was swelled during the last week (to 28 May 2003), when more than 15,000 crossed the eastern border into Cote D'Ivoire.

DFID'S most recent commitment to the crisis in Liberia was in March 2003 in the form of a grant to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for £550,000 for humanitarian assistance and funding for MSF (Belgium) for health service provision for the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia and the outreach services that it provides for outlying areas. We have also made substantial contributions this year towards programmes of the UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN Children's Fund and the ICRC in Guinea (£1.6 million), Sierra Leone (£1.4 million) and Cote D'Ivoire (£1 million).


John Barrett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what response he will make to the United Nations Development Programme appeal of 19 May following the destruction caused by cyclone Manou in eastern Madagascar. [115737]

Hilary Benn: Our assessment of the situation in eastern Madagascar is that while the cyclone was serious, the national structures in place are currently proving sufficient in providing appropriate assistance. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

Relief to Madagascar is presently being provided by a number of donors including the UN agencies of UNICEF, WFP and OCHA, which the UK supports through its Institutional Strategic Partnership programme.

Should the situation worsen, or continue for any length of time, DFID would then consider providing further support to the response.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of Malawi concerning prevention of HIV and AIDS in prisons. [116404]

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Hilary Benn: None. The Malawi Government Health Policy, endorsed by the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Department, advocates treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) for prisoners to help control the AIDS epidemic. DFID's Safety, Security and Access to Justice (MaSSAJ) programme supports the National Council for Safety and Justice (NCSJ), which has endorsed implementation of a Health in Prison Programme. As part of this, a local NGO, Banja La Mtsogolo, is conducting STI treatment and HIV/AIDS and STI prevention information programmes in all Malawi Prisons. The Head of DFID (Malawi) is a full member of NCSJ.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with the Malawi Government regarding the emigration of (a) doctors and (b) nurses from Malawi. [116409]

Hilary Benn: None. However we are concerned about recruitment of trained medical personnel from developing countries. The Department of Health (DoH) introduced a Code of Practice in 2001 designed to prevent such recruitment. The DoH has listed particular countries from which active recruitment should be avoided. Malawi is one of these. DFID is working with DoH to ensure the Code is effective. However the Code of Practice is only applicable to NHS recruitment. Anecdotal evidence shows that UK private recruitment agencies continue to recruit from Malawi, and other countries on the DoH list. DFID is gathering evidence on the exact nature and scale of such recruitment to determine if action can be taken to reduce its impact.


Mr. Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the recent cholera outbreaks in Mozambique; and if he will make a statement. [116621]

Hilary Benn: Cholera is endemic in Mozambique and outbreaks occur annually and may sometimes develop into severe epidemics. DFID supports the Ministry of Health through planning and budgeting mechanisms and the annual plan contains a budget line for emergencies of this kind.

The Ministry of Health, together with its partners—DFID included—have developed an established and relatively efficient response to cholera and other epidemics. Over the last few years, the Ministry of Health has become well equipped and capable of managing outbreaks with less and less support from cooperating partners.

DFID is providing specific support to a research project in the Ministry of Health to establish a predictive model for cholera epidemics using simple environmental and social indicators, based on which it will be easier to support cost effective prevention of cholera through action on environmental health interventions, improved community responses to epidemics, and vaccine delivery.

North Korea

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what aid

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the Department for International Development has provided for North Korea in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [114678]

Hilary Benn: The UK's policy towards engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has resulted in limited humanitarian contributions. There are many constraints to humanitarian agencies operating in North Korea, including problems of access.

DFID contributed £500,000 for humanitarian assistance projects in 2000–01. In 2001–02, we contributed just over £2 million to UNICEF for essential drugs, immunisation and water and sanitation and to the British Red Cross for disaster preparedness and flood relief. There were no contributions in 2002 due to the problems of access. We continue to assess the situation for possible funding for 2003.

DFID is also providing support through the European Community's programme. In each of the years 2000 and 2001, the European Community allocated approximately 3 million euros to the DPRK. In 2003, the EC's contribution has been 7.5 million euros so far. These contributions have been to target primary health care and food security. DFID contributes approximately 19 per cent. of the European Community's funding.

Office Closures

Gregory Barker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the cost to the Department of office closures was in the last 12 months. [115355]

Hilary Benn: Seven offices in East Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia) closed at the end of 2002–03 financial year; this was due to the winding down of DFID programmes as a result of impending membership of the EC. These closures have generated a net saving in 2003–4 of £280,000, excluding the cost of UK staff redeployed to other programmes.

In a few cases, other DFID offices were temporarily affected by security concerns. The closures were only for a few days and any financial costs would have been minimal. Certain other offices were temporarily scaled down, incurring additional costs for temporary repatriation; the main example was New Delhi, resulting from a heightening of tensions in South Asia. These costs are not separately accounted for and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Oil for Food Programme

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the provision of food aid through the Oil for Food Programme. [115412]

Hilary Benn: It will be important to get a food distribution programme fully re-established as soon as possible. 16 million Iraqis depended on the Oil for Food Programme (OFF) before the conflict. The World Food Programme (WFP) is aiming to build up supplies similar to those provided then (480,000 tonnes of food per month) as soon as possible. We are working with the UN's Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP), WFP, the

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Coalition's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs (ORHA) and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade to achieve this. WFP has sufficient stocks of most food commodities for June, although there are still some shortages of milk powder, salt and pulses. DFID has contributed £33 million to WFP since the start of the crisis.

The OIP has recently agreed to the use of OFF funds for the purchase of wheat and barley from this year's harvest in Iraq. Buying crops locally will assist in meeting requirements projected by WFP for August and September, at the same time as injecting cash into Iraq's rural economy.

UN Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted 22 May, extended the OFF for a final six months. Responsibility for the provision of food aid after that passes to the Authority established by the Coalition.

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